A plumber working in a crawlspace under a rural cabin near Crested Butte, Colorado was able to safely and quickly reverse his forward motion after he encountered a snarling mountain lion in close quarters last week.

Josh Pierce said he thought he smelled a wet animal as he wormed his way into a two-foot corridor to check for some frozen pipes—and he hoped he wouldn’t come face-to-face with a skunk or coyote.


Then, after about 20 feet of belly crawling, he discovered he had company of the feline persuasion.

“After it hissed and spit at me, I realized I was looking into the eyes of a lion not more than five feet away,” he told the Crested Butte News.

Pierce, an experienced hunter and outdoorsman, said he knew that a key to defending oneself in a cougar confrontation is to stand tall and appear as large as possible. Unfortunately, he knew he didn’t have that option while crawling on his stomach beneath a house.

Without so much as a wrench to defend himself, the plumber slowly and deliberately backed out of the area and retreated to the safety of a garage.

Pierce subsequently contacted an acquaintance who had a Colorado lion tag and the cat was rousted from his hideaway by hounds and killed two days later.

In the interim, the homeowner and her children remained safely indoors.

So, what does Pierce think about the hazards of being employed as a plumber in the wilds of Colorado?

“I don’t get paid enough for this,” he said.